Presentations are not often requested by examiners to start the viva, but they can be a useful way to get things started. If your examiners ask for one they’re giving you a way to control the start of the viva, and hoping you can use it to start well.
Of course, you could still be nervous, as people often are when called to give a presentation. Here are some thoughts on what you could do to help your presentation:
- Think Why-How-What to give structure: Why did you do your research? How did you do it? What were the results? This can do a lot to frame a good presentation.
- Check to see if other candidates have given presentations. How long were they? What did they decide to include? Use this to help shape the depth and content you share.
- Ask your supervisors for their perspective. What are the key results or ideas you have to tell your examiners about?
- Decide on the format. Powerpoint or whiteboard? Prompts or script?
- Recycle! Do you have diagrams, slides or other material you have used before, that could be repurposed for this presentation? You don’t have to start from scratch.
- Practice! If your examiners are expecting a twenty minute overview, don’t show up with fifty slides you’ve not rehearsed.
- Remember this is all about giving you a good way to start the viva.
You might not be asked to give a presentation to start the discussion. Still, giving a presentation could be a valuable task in advance of your viva. Many of the things you would do to prepare a presentation will also serve you well as part of your viva preparation. Giving a presentation could also be a great confidence boost before the viva.